Tag Archives | Science Fiction

Parallel Universes

Two Rebellious items:

a) Sabine on Star Wars: Rebels keeps reminding me of someone, and I’ve finally got it – it’s “You Better Run”-era Pat Benatar. Same hair, same cheekbones!

b) In season 4, episode 10, of Star Wars: Rebels, the stealth kite attack over the pointy rock formations of Lothal (right) seems reminiscent of this image of ornithopters flying over the pointy rock formations of Arrakis from the (now insanely expensive, but I got mine when it was cheap and new) Illustrated Dune (left):


Cybernetic Intertextuality

In Star Wars: Rebels, season 3, episode 14, we’re introduced to a new model of droid, the Infiltrator droid, whose appearance is clearly based on that of Ralph McQuarrie’s original design for Threepio (which in turn was of course based on the robot from Metropolis):

The connection is lampshaded by AP-5’s saying that the Infiltrator droid “looks like an older model of some type of protocol droid.”

And AP-5 himself seems, in voice and personality, to be based on Marvin, the perpetually and snarkily depressed android from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:


Attack of the Cloned Scene

That the Star Wars series borrows heavily from the Dune series is not news, but I think I’ve found another example.

In Star Wars: Rebels, season 2, episode 20, near the beginning, Ezra and his mentor Kanan are having lightsabre practice, at the end of which Ezra think he’s won, as he has his blade at Kanan’s throat – only for Kanan to point out that each is equally at the mercy of the other’s blade:

If that sounds familiar, it might be because a very similar scene happens toward the beginning of the first Dune novel, between Paul and his mentor Gurney. Here’s the scene from the 1984 movie version:

Is the similarity deliberate or accidental? Almost certainly deliberate, I say – because the similarity arguably gets lampshaded during the fight, when Kanan says “You know that’s my move,” and Ezra replies, “I steal from the best” – and then that’s immediately followed by the relevant bit.

Also, right after the fight, Kanan chides Ezra for turning his back to someone who might be an enemy, just as Thufir Hawat chides Paul for the same thing just before the Gurney scene.


T for 2

Okay, so there’s a four-minute E.T. sequel out there. But that’s nothing compared to what we could have had. As with Tarantino’s Vega Brothers movie, it’s something we can now only dream of:


Atlas Shruggoth

[cross-posted at POT]

[T]here were double meanings in
the
Necronomicon of the mad Arab
Abdul Alhazred which the initiated
might read as they chose ….

Sometimes two terms can be the same in reference but different in sense, like “the morning star” and “the evening star,” or “Mark Twain” and “Samuel Clemens,” or … “John Galt” and “Cthulhu.”

Yes, think about it. Galt and Cthulhu – or Galthulhu, if you will – are both hidden, mysterious figures who act in secret, biding their time until they can reclaim the world for themselves and their kind.

Galthulhu’s hiding place is described, in the Dark Gospel of Rand, as a “radiant island in the Western Ocean” that he discovered while “fighting the worst storm ever wreaked upon the world”:

He saw it in the depth, where it had sunk to escape the reach of men. He saw the towers of Atlantis shining on the bottom of the ocean. It was a sight of such kind that when one had seen it, one could no longer wish to look at the rest of the earth. John Galt sank his ship and went down with his entire crew.

But Galthulhu did not die, since, as per the Dark Gospel of Lovecraft –

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die

– or, as the Dark Gospel of Rand reports the creature’s own words: “Of course I am all right, Professor. I had to be. A is A.” Instead, Galthulhu waits in expectant dormancy in its sunken city, as the Dark Gospel of Lovecraft explains:

In the elder time chosen men had talked with the entombed Old Ones in dreams, but then something had happened. The great stone city R’lyeh, with its monoliths and sepulchres, had sunk beneath the waves; and the deep waters, full of the one primal mystery through which not even thought can pass, had cut off the spectral intercourse. But memory never died, and high-priests said that the city would rise again when the stars were right. … Cthulhu still lives, too, I suppose, again in that chasm of stone which has shielded him since the sun was young. His accursed city is sunken once more, for the Vigilant sailed over the spot after the April storm; but his ministers on earth still bellow and prance and slay around idol-capped monoliths in lonely places.

And in what sort of buildings do Galthulhu and his acolytes live? According to Lovecraft, in “greenish stone blocks” with “crazily elusive angles of carven rock” whose geometry is “abnormal, non-Euclidean, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours.”

Similarly, Galthulhu’s forerunner, according to Rand, designs buildings that “looked like a lot of boxes piled together without rhyme or reason,” such as “a rising mass of rock crystal” with a “severe, mathematical order holding together a free, fantastic growth; straight lines and clean angles, space slashed with a knife … an incredible variety of shapes,” like “a symphony played by an inexhaustible imagination, and one could still hear the laughter of the force that had been let loose on them, as if that force had run, unrestrained, challenging itself to be spent, but had never reached its end.”

And the preferred colour of Galthulhu’s structures? – “shining metal” with an “odd tinge” of “greenish-blue.”

As the hour of Galthulhu’s resurrection approaches, the creature’s ability to influence human thoughts returns, and the “monstrous menace” begins, in Lovecraft’s terms, “its siege of mankind’s soul,” by “sending out at last, after cycles incalculable, the thoughts that spread fear to the dreams of the sensitive and called imperiously to the faithful to come on a pilgrimage of liberation and restoration” – i.e., it begins, as Rand describes, “draining the brains of the world.”

“That cult would never die till the stars came right again,” Lovecraft explains, “and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth.” What Lovecraft describes as future, Rand describes as past: “We are going back to the world,” she has Galthulhu say, as the creature “raised his hand and over the desolate earth he traced in space the sign of the dollar.”

In the meantime, the creature’s name has become part of a popular chant expressing the despair of the damned, whether as “Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!” or as “Who is John Galt?”

What does Galthulhu offer to its followers? Freedom and egoistic indulgence, according to Rand:

Such was the service we had given you and were glad and willing to give. What did we ask in return? Nothing but freedom. …

It’s selfish, heartless, ruthless! It’s the most vicious speech ever made! It … it will make people demand to be happy!

Or in Lovecraft’s words:

The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom. Meanwhile the cult, by appropriate rites, must keep alive the memory of those ancient ways and shadow forth the prophecy of their return.

And then there will be only the ocean and the sky and the figure of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.


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